For the next 90 days, Florida agencies, including the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and the Department of Health (DOH), have been ordered to freeze all rulemaking and may not amend any existing rules or propose or adopt any new rules. During that time, they must perform a comprehensive review of their existing rules and regulations and submit a report recommending which rules and regulations should be modified or eliminated. This is an opportunity for Florida health care businesses to voice their concerns if they want changes to current or proposed rules.
Executive Order No. 11-01
On January 4, 2010, Governor Rick Scott signed his first executive order, immediately after being sworn in to office as Florida’s 45th governor. Executive Order No. 11-01 directly impacts all Florida health care businesses by immediately suspending all rulemaking power for Florida agencies, including Florida’s two main health care agencies — AHCA and the DOH.
Executive Order No. 11-01 includes the following major provisions:
The comprehensive review of existing rules and regulations is designed to “reduce the regulatory burden on the citizens of Florida, to determine whether existing rules and regulations remain justified and necessary, and to determine whether such existing rules and regulations are duplicative or unnecessarily burdensome.”
One of the justifications stated for the changes in Executive Order No. 11-01 is that “the people of the State of Florida deserve a regulatory process that is efficient, effective, understandable, responsive, and open to the public.”
Florida health care businesses, particularly those participating in the Medicare and/or Medicaid Programs, are among the most highly regulated in the state, subject to considerable restrictions under federal and state laws, regulations and rules, in addition to sub-regulatory requirements from CMS, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Inspector General, the Florida DOH and AHCA.
House Bill 1565
Executive Order No. 11-01 builds upon the protections placed into law by House Bill (HB) 1565, which became effective after a veto override on November 16, 2010. The major provisions of HB 1565 include the following:
Recommendations and Strategic Implications
The agency rule ratification process required under House Bill 1565 and the comprehensive review required by Executive Order No. 11-01 present ample opportunities for Florida businesses, particularly those in the health care industry, to voice their concerns directly to AHCA or the DOH as well as the Legislature. Health care businesses have taken issue with a number of Florida health care regulations and rules on the grounds that such regulations are vague, inapplicable, unduly burdensome, or have a negative impact on health care business and job creation in the state.
Without doubt, 90 days to conduct a comprehensive review is a Herculean task for large agencies such as AHCA and the DOH. As important stakeholders in Florida’s health care industry, input from health care businesses would help AHCA and the DOH identify changes to improve and streamline existing Florida health care regulations. For businesses interested in this opportunity, skilled health care counsel and public policy professionals can help prepare comments and help ensure that concerns are articulated and fully considered by the agencies.
Nathaniel M. Lacktman
Paul W. Lowell
Jonathan P. Kilman
Gary D. Koch
George W. Ash
Lawrence W. Vernaglia